On March 10, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced two whistleblower awards totaling approximately $500,000. The CFTC issued the awards to two whistleblowers who separately made disclosures which contributed to the success of an enforcement action. The awards are the first of 2022.
Through the CFTC Whistleblower Program, qualified whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily provide original information which leads to a successful enforcement action, are entitled to a monetary award of 10-30% of funds recovered by the government.
According to the award order, the newly awarded whistleblowers’ information significantly contributed to the success of the enforcement action because it “led the Division to key evidence underlying the [enforcement action]” and “expanded the potential scope of violations” in the action. The order further notes that the whistleblowers’ information “was of ‘high quality, reliability, and specificity.’”
The CFTC weighs a number of factors when determining the exact percentage to award a whistleblower. In this case, the order points to three specific factors: the whistleblowers’ information was “significant,” the whistleblowers provided “substantial” additional assistance to the investigation, and the violations disclosed by the whistleblowers were a “priority” of the CFTC.
“These awards further show the importance of whistleblower tips to our entire enforcement program, including high-priority areas,” said CFTC Acting Director of Enforcement Vincent McGonagle. “Information from whistleblowers has helped the Commission not only start investigations, but also bring them to a successful conclusion.”
“These awards show how a whistleblower’s information can advance the Commission’s enforcement efforts, even if the CFTC does not ultimately charge the specific violations the whistleblower has reported,” added Whistleblower Office Director Christopher Ehrman. “As long as the information significantly contributes to a successful investigation, the whistleblower may be eligible for an award.”
Since issuing its first award in 2014, the CFTC has awarded approximately $300 million to whistleblowers. In October 2021, the CFTC issued a record $200 million whistleblower award. Other whistleblower awards issued by the agency in 2021 include a $3 million award from April and a $1 million award from November.